Monday, May 20, 2013

Book Review: Tunisian Crochet Encore by Sheryl Thies

Monday, May 20, 2013
I met Sheryl Thies last October when I attended the symposium put on by the Knit & Crochet Heritage Museum in Madison, WI. An out-going and friendly person, she is also a talented crocheter and knitter. I am delighted to review her latest book, her second, on Tunisian Crochet.

Tunisian Crochet Encore: New Stitches, New Techniques, New Patterns by Sheryl Thies
Published by Martingale, 2013

I had a very positive experience over ten years ago with Martingale publishers when I participated as one of the designers in Crochet Today, a book they published to celebrate the Crochet Guild of America. Today, Martingale and Sheryl Thies do not disappoint!

She had me at page one! The word “encore” in the title gives a hint to the creative metaphor that Sheryl uses throughout the book. She muses that once the basic Tunisian skills are achieved, crocheters will develop a rhythm with their hook and not be able to put it down, much like when a line or rhythm from a song is “stuck in your head” all day long!

Not only is Thies a lovely and gracious needle worker, she is also an expert at Tunisian crochet. She wields her Tunisian hook to create drapy, flowing, fashionable designs. Her goal is to increase her reader’s confidence in this age-old tradition in crochet. Again, using musical terms that easily segue to crochet, Sheryl provides the basics of the technique in the first section, Prelude. Here she starts the crocheter on a journey into Tunisian crochet, along which she thoroughly explains the use of short rows and miters to shape and curve rows   

Make it Sing, the middle section, builds on the fundamentals with new techniques and concepts that lead the crocheter to create some amazing fashions including patterns for using bulkier yarns and large hooks for projects that work up quickly. I love the continuation of the metaphor in the catchy project titles like, Ruffled Interlude, Beaded Trill and Hummingbird Rhapsody!

Finally, you’ll find useful information required for finishing a project along with helpful resources information in the Coda section at the end of the book.

The publisher provides excellent photo illustrations of all the stitch techniques and Sheryl’s sixteen lovely designs are a bargain at the book’s retail price of $24.99.  

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Cycle of Life

Wednesday, May 15, 2013
On April 24, we moved into the next phase life when we received an offer on our house which has been on the market for three years! Even though we willingly made the decision to sell our house back then and are well aware that we need to downsize, it still came as a shock. Signing those papers sent me into a whirling dervish-like scenario which included mixed emotions of both exhilaration and sadness with a dose of panic thrown in!

It has been my dream for years to live in the city of Chicago and enjoy this fabulous city during the lush spring and fall seasons and then to have a winter house in Mexico. We had the winter house in Mexico and enjoyed it for 7 years, but sold it a year ago when we realized that we didn't want to be away from our grandchildren and family for six months during the winter.

We have now leased a condo in the city of Chicago and will try city living for a year.
Maybe I'll get the call to live there out of my system. We don't know what the future holds, but we plan to make the most of this year and consider it an adventure. Thoughts are swirling in my head...How and where will we fit our furniture into the smaller place? How often will I return to the suburbs? I know for sure I'll return for my beloved Northern IL Chapter meetings and for my doctors. Alan's doctor is in the city.  Don't forget the change of address form! Check out the Chicago chapter of CGOA-they meet on Sundays, so I can go to two chapter meetings a month!

Then, I remind myself to slow down and take one step at a time. This week: continue to sort and separate; some things for trash, some things for the garage sale, some things to pack for storage. Next week: organize everything for the sale. After that we can do mindless packing of easy things before the movers arrive. I'll make it fun and treat us with a hot fudge sundae or piece of pie when the stress or boredom begins to set in.

Meanwhile, I am looking forward to all my crochet friends showing up for the sale so they can take advantage of the major crochet de-stashing I have done. I have completed two identical bridal garters this week. Bethany's dear friend, Kate, asked me to crochet one for her July wedding and my neighbor girl, Jackie, is getting married in October. So, I decided why not make them both while I can still get to my sewing machine?

I taught Kate to crochet when she was in college and spent many memorable moments watching her and Bethany perform, not only in their college shows, but in their band, Chameleon World.
I've watched Jackie grow up into a beautiful and out-going young bride. I'm honored to be a part of the new cycle of life both these young ladies are about to enter!